Hospital Negligence in Ireland

Many hospital negligence claims in Ireland are made against a hospital or the Health Service Executive (HSE) when injuries have occurred which could be attributable to any one of a team of medical practitioners or hospital support staff. Cases where incorrect medications have been administered, or a hospital-acquired infection has developed, can often be quickly and successfully remedied to the relief of everybody involved. But where one or more persons are responsible for the misdiagnosis of serious illness, or fail to act in unison during a medical emergency, the outcome can be far more serious.

Even when the effects of erroneous drug administration or an MRSA infection are not long-term, the fact that you or a loved one has sustained an avoidable loss or injury due to a poor professional performance entitles you to make hospital negligence claims. Although no amount of compensation will ever make up for a mismanaged medical emergency which results in a permanent injury, a hospital negligence claim can provide you or a loved one with sufficient finances to ensure adequate care is provided for the rest of your/their life.

Making Hospital Negligence Claims

Some people may feel that hospital negligence claims differ from medical negligence claims (against a known and possibly trusted medical practitioner) inasmuch as a hospital is an establishment with a duty of care towards you that is almost corporate. Although the law makes no distinction in this respect, it is sometimes easier for people when they can distance themselves from hospital negligence claims and not experience the feelings of guilt associated with making a claim against an individual.

Despite this “emotional detachment”, making successful hospital negligence claims can be no less harrowing for the victim or their loved ones. The prospect of having the long term consequences of hospital negligence explained (what care will be required, how much it will cost and what changes you will have to make to your life) is a lot to handle, and this is why it is always in your best interests to speak with a specialist personal injury solicitor as soon as you believe you have been injured or sustained a loss due to hospital negligence.

Consequences of Hospital Negligence

In order to highlight some of the consequences of hospital negligence, we would refer to one of the most high profile hospital negligence events in Ireland – the infected anti-D immunoglobulin blood transfusions which were given to pregnant women with a rhesus negative blood type in the late seventies and early nineties.

Over twenty thousand vials of blood containing the Hepatitis C viral disease were administered to women in Ireland in two separate negligent acts, exposing them and their unborn children to potentially fatal liver disease. Although treatment was made available for the women in whom the disease developed, not all the victims were traced and, as the Hepatitis C infection can take up to thirty years to manifest, many will still be living in ignorance while the disease manifests within them.

The treatment itself is invasive, requiring regular blood tests to be taken for a period of up to 48 weeks. The drugs prescribed to combat the infection are known to cause anaemia, cardiovascular problems and psychiatric issues which may trigger suicidal tendencies – these being exacerbated by the psychological stress experienced by the patient. Even once the treatment is concluded, it can still take up to six months before a doctor can be certain that the infection has gone – and this treatment is known to work in only 85 per cent of cases.

The consequences of hospital negligence will affect individuals in different ways. This one example above had a satisfactory conclusion for most of the women who were infected due to a return to health and adequate compensation; however those that were not traced by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service may now be displaying the symptoms of chronic liver cirrhosis.

Hospital Negligence Claims and Third Party Capture

Your own personal consequences will have a major impact on how much compensation you are entitled to receive in a hospital negligence claim, and this is why speaking with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity is of vital importance. When hospitals acknowledge that they have been negligent in your treatment, you are likely to be approached by their public liability insurance company with an offer of compensation in return for an early settlement.

Although getting your claim “out of the way” and receiving an immediate cash sum (at a time when you may be anxious about how you are going to cope financially) may be appealing to you, often these quick settlements are inappropriate to your long term requirements. Once you have accepted the insurance company’s offer you cannot go back for more, so speaking with a solicitor when you first realise that you have been the victim of hospital negligence is important to avoid the risk of being under-compensated.

Free Legal Advice

Therefore, if you believe that you have sustained a loss or injury due to hospital negligence in Ireland, you are invited to complete the form below with your contact details and a convenient time at which to call. One of solicitors will get back in touch with you and will answer any questions you may have about making hospital negligence claims as well as providing you with some helpful and practical legal advice about what elements of hospital negligence compensation you may be entitled to claim.

Please note that there is no obligation on you to proceed with a hospital negligence claim once you have spoken with us. We aim to provide the information you require in order that you and your family can make a fully informed decision in your own time. We would advise you however, to contact us at the earliest possible opportunity to avoid being time-barred by the Statute of Limitations on making hospital negligence claims.